Albert Pujols has been battling plantar fasciitis all season. For anyone who has ever experienced this condition, you know it's tough to manage. Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels believe the pain is manageable and Pujols can play through it. However, Pujols' production has been down and he is sitting at times when he otherwise wouldn't. Yesterday, Pujols was rested specifically because of the foot issue.
"With Albert, we just wanted to take a day to regroup, use tomorrow and see where he is Tuesday," Angels' manager Mike Scioscia said.
The injury has been a big problem for the 33-year old slugger. And really, it's a big problem for the Angels as well. Pujols is in just the second year of his 10-year contract with Los Angeles. Yet, he is already showing signs of breaking down. He had offseason surgery on his knee and he is now battling the foot issues this year. And so far, Pujols has not been the same player.
So this raises the question; why are the Angels playing him right now? Plantar fasciitis usually heals on its own with rest. In some cases, surgery may be necessary, but usually only if someone aggravates the original condition - you know, by doing something crazy like play baseball with the injury consistently. The Angels do some seem inclined to place Gonzalez on the 15-day DL, but they may need to consider it to give him some rest. Depending on how long the injury will actually take to heal, the team may even need to consider the 60-day DL.
Pujols is hitting .237/.319/.407 with five home runs. As he proved last season, we can expect him to come out of this slump and put together a solid season, but Pujols has not been the same player who knew him as from 2001-2010. Sure, a bigger deal is made because of Pujols' high bar - his production is something every GM in the league would want as it is now - but injuries and age have clearly caught up to the nine-time All-Star.
Rather than let Pujols play through this injury and risk further damage, the Angels should give serious consideration to placing him on the DL. The team is nine games under .500 for the first time since 2006, Mike Scioscia is on the hot seat, and a change needs to be made. Perhaps a DL stint for Pujols is that change.
It won't happen. At least not for now. However, at some point, it would not be surprising if the Angels chose to place Pujols on the DL to let his sore foot heal. Pujols is the type of player who would willingly go out and play in pain every night, but for him to truly be effective, he needs to get healthy.
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